PH-US tie-up on space tech to help monitor EEZ

PH-US tie-up on space tech to help monitor EEZ

/ 05:50 AM May 15, 2024

PH-US tie-up on space tech to help monitor EEZ stock images

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States have agreed to further cooperation on space technology, including its use for maritime domain surveillance of Manila’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Both sides held the inaugural bilateral space dialogue in Washington on May 2, aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation on outer space innovation, “including the use of space-based Earth observation satellite data for a wide variety of socioeconomic applications.”


“The delegations recognized the potential for expanded cooperation on the use of space for maritime domain awareness, including through the US Department of Transportation-led SeaVision program,” said a joint statement released on Tuesday.


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“Such programs can help monitor and document vessels in the Philippines’ territorial waters and EEZ, ensure the safety of mariners at sea, monitor and help protect the environment, and help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” it added.

Free system access

SeaVision is a web-based maritime situational awareness tool that provides a broad array of maritime information.

The system uses satellite imagery, transponders and infrared to track ships round the clock, providing near real-time and historical information on vessel positions and details.

Since 2021, the United States has been providing free access to the system to the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and National Coast Watch Center.

Both sides also agreed to “consider the possible hosting in the Philippines of a US Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat ground station,” according to the joint statement.


The Landsat program is a US satellite system capable of repeated multi-spectral observations of the global land surface at a moderate scale that show both natural and human-induced change.

The Philippines also expressed interest in the “possible expansion of cooperation of the joint USAID-Nasa SERVIR program, which expanded last year to include the Philippines,” the statement also said.

Tracking tool

A joint program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), SERVIR provides critical information and support services to track environmental changes, evaluate ecological threats, and respond to damage from disasters.

The Philippine delegation was led by Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Deputy Director General for space science and technology Gay Jane Perez.

The US delegation was led by State Department Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Rahima Kandahari.

PhilSA Director General Joel Marciano Jr., Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer Littlejohn and National Space Council Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh gave the welcome and keynote messages.

PhilSA mandate

PhilSA was created under Republic Act No. 11363, or the Philippine Space Act.

An attached agency of the Office of the President for purposes of policy and program coordination, it is the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications, and to ensure alignment in national policies and priorities.

Among its mandate is “to safeguard Philippine sovereignty, territorial integrity, Philippine interest, and the right to self-determination as mandated by Article II, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution.”

It is also tasked to support “the development, application and utilization of science and technology that will foster patriotism and nationalism and accelerate social progress, such as the development of space technology and applications for its security and for the benefit of its citizens.”

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PhilSA also seeks to ensure that the Philippines is officially represented in the international space community for establishing cooperation agreements and linkages on space development.

TAGS: Philippine Space Act, Philippine Space Agency, SeaVision program, USAID-Nasa SERVIR program, USGS

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